Holy Days, Reflectionary

Mary, the Mother of James and Joses

(Last in the series.)

We were following him all along, my friends and I. We cared for him and for the disciples, and even after the men ran away, afraid, we lost ourselves in the crowd keeping as near Jesus as we could. How terrible he looked when they brought him before Pilate, and how much worse after the flogging they gave him. The soldiers made fun of him. They wrapped him in a purple cloak, laughing and jeering. One twisted thorns into a crown and jammed it onto his head. And they all laughed again and started shouting, “Hail, King of the Jews!” They struck him again, spat on him, pretended to worship him. And then they put his own torn clothes on him again and led him out to crucify him.

Mary Magdalene, Salome and I followed them all along the road to Golgotha. We were there when they offered him bitter wine, and when they took his clothes away and cast lots for them. We were there when they nailed him, naked and alone, to the cross. We were there to hear the pounding of the nails. It was nine o’clock in the morning. The charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.”

They tell me there is always a crowd at a crucifixion. Two bandits were on either side of him. That is the sort of person with whom he would die. We who loved him were so close, but we could do nothing to ease his suffering or to save him from death. And people walked by, taunting him all the time. “You said you would destroy the Temple and build it up again in three days; save yourself and come down from the cross, then, Jesus!” And the Jewish authorities mocked him, too, only among themselves, but I heard them. “He saved others, but he cannot save himself. Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down from the cross now, so that we may see and believe.”

But of course they didn’t really want to see him do this.

Even the bandits taunted him.

At the time when the sun reaches its highest, suddenly darkness came over the whole land, and so it remained for three hours. Then we heard our dear Master cry out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Still they mocked him, wondering if Elijah would come to save him. He cried out and let out his last breath. They tell me the curtain of the temple was torn in two pieces, from the top to the bottom, at that same moment.

The Roman centurion who had been in charge of all this looked up at Jesus, and he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God.”

Truly.

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